What are the Merge and future Ethereum upgrades?

What Are Ethereum Upgrades

Ethereum upgrades (formly ETH 2.0 or Serenity) refers to a set of interconnected upgrades that will make Ethereum more scalable, more secure, and more sustainable.

Why Does the Upgrades Matter

With the upgrades, Ethereum will move from PoW to PoS, and introduce sharding. The Ethereum network will significantly reduce energy requirements, allow more transactions to be processed simultaneously, and improve network security.

Scalability

The Ethereum mainnet (Layer1) can only process about 15 transactions per second, while more than 1,000,000 transactions occur on the chain every day, leading to clogged networks and increased gas fees. By introducing sharding, Ethereum spreads data storage requirements across the network. Validators will no longer need to store all data, allowing the Layer2 scaling solution based on Rollup technology to be most effective and achieve exponential improvements in TPS.

Security

After the shift from PoW to PoS, validators who maintain the security of the network are required to stake a large amount of ETH to the protocol. If they maliciously attack the network, their staked ETH will be automatically destroyed by the protocol. With this penalty mechanism, Ethereum can avoid the risk of coordinated attacks, such as the 51% attack, thus improving security.

Sustainability

Currently, the energy consumption of Ethereum secured by PoW is about 112 TWh/year, and the annual CO2 emission is comparable to that of Singapore. Based on the estimate of the current beacon chain, the total energy consumption of Etherum will be reduced by 99.95% after switching to PoS, which is about 2000 times more energy efficient than PoW.

Three Phases of the Ethereum Upgrades

The Ethereum upgrades are divided into three phases: The Beacon Chain, The Merge and Sharding.

Ethereum Upgrades Roadmap

The Beacon Chain

Launch date: December 1, 2020

We are currently in the Beacon Chain (formerly Phase 0). As the basis of the PoS consensus, the Beacon Chain provides a consensus foundation for the entire Ethereum network and paves the way for subsequent sharding upgrades.

Users can stake ETH now. However, it should be noted that staking ETH in the deposit contract of the beacon chain is one-way. Once deposited, the staked ETH and accumulated rewards can only be retrieved after the beacon chain enables the withdrawal function in Shanghai upgrade, the next major upgrade following The Merge, which means your staked ETH will remain locked for at least 6–12 months following The Merge.

The Merge

Estimate: Spet.10~20, 2022

When ready, Ethereum mainnet will “merge” with the Beacon Chain, becoming its own shard which uses proof-of-stake instead of proof-of-work.

This will signal the end of proof-of-work for Ethereum and start the era of a more sustainable, eco-friendly Ethereum.

Sharding

Estimate: 2023~2024

Shard chains spread the network’s load across 64 new chains. Sharding will reduce network congestion and increase transactions per second by creating new chains, known as “shards”.

imToken & ETH Staking

The following are the 4 common staking solutions currently available to participate in ETH staking:

  • Self-run node: You run and manage clients of the executive layer (formerly Eth1) and the consensus layer (formerly Eth2) by yourself
  • Full custody: A trusted custodian controls your funds, but allows you to stake less than 32 ETH
  • Custodial staking pool: Based on the solution of full custody, it offers tokens which represent your staked ETH and allows you to redeem ETH anytime
  • Staking-as-a-Service custody: You keep control over your staked ETH and staking rewards, and co-manage nodes with service providers through 2 sets of keys

Having At Least 32 ETH

If you have at least 32 ETH and excellent technical skills, a self-run node will fit you.

However, running your own node can be difficult and you don’t always need to run your own instance. So if you don’t want to be bogged down in endless technical manuals, you can use the imToken ETH staking service.

imToken 2.9.1 now has full support for ETH staking and staking-as-a-service custody with InfStones, which guarantees the ownership and control of your assets through transparent node information. Meanwhile, you can rest assured about node operation, node validation and maintenance services.

Recommended Readings

Alternatives in imToken ETH Staking category

Having Less Than 32 ETH

It is recommended to choose a staking pool if you have less than 32 ETH, or aren’t willing to stake that much. Factors such as the service provider’s brand, token mechanism and ETH discount should all be taken into account when choosing.

Staking pools:

Recommended Readings:How to stake ETH on imToken

Tools

Staking Rewards Calculator

Staking Launchpad

Explorers

Clients

FAQ

1. What are the benefits and risks of staking on the Beacon Chain?

Benefits: You can earn around 4% APR. After the Merge, APR is estimated to reach 7%.

Risks: The staked ETH may be slashed due to the misbehavior of the validator.

Meanwhile, the deposited 32 ETH and accumulated rewards will not be transferable until the beacon chain enables the withdrawal function in Shanghai upgrade, the next major upgrade following The Merge, which means your staked ETH will remain locked for at least 6–12 months following The Merge.

Some staking pools may provide a solution for illiquidity, then the safety of the assets will depend on the trustworthiness of the staking pool.

2. Why don’t we use ETH 2.0 or Eth2 anymore?

With the Merge coming up, the term Eth1 and Eth2 can easily confuse ordinary users into thinking that Eth1 comes before Eth2 or that Eth1 disappears when Eth2 exists. In addition, some scammers trick users into swapping their ETH for so-called ETH 2 tokens before the Merge, stealing their assets.

Therefore, the Ethereum community decided to stop using the terms Eth1, Eth2 and ETH 2.0, and renamed Eth1 as the execution layer, Eth2 as the consensus layer and ETH 2.0 as the Ethereum upgrades.

3. How do I prepare for the Ethereum upgrades?

imToken will support the Merge and following Ethereum upgrades. You certainly don’t need to do anything. Your ETH will not need changing or upgrading. There’s almost certain to be scams telling you otherwise, so be careful.

If you have any questions, you can contact us by sending an email to support@token.im.

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Wallet for Ethereum ETH, Bitcoin BTC, Arbitrum, Optimism, zkSync, Aztec, Polkadot DOT, Kusama KSM, LTC, EOS, Tron TRX, Cosmos ATOM, BCH, Nervos and more